Monday, May 19, 2003
The Stage . . . Shakin' that Ass, Shakin' that Ass
* (this story updated 5.22.03)
The stage at Fantasy (where I work now) is a lot different than the stage at The Lusty Lady. At the Lusty, the stage is the main attraction. The girls there are actually employees so they are earning an hourly wage and get a weekly paycheck. There are usually at least three nude girls on stage at all times. There are about ten booths and the windows are open the majority of the time.
They do not get tips at the Lusty so the girls don't have to hustle or step all over each other to make money. I really like this concept. The Lusty is located on First Avenue across from the Seattle Art Museum, and just south of the Pike Place Market. It's a very busy part of town so they get a lot of business. The cost to keep the window open is $1.00 for about a minute.
The Lusty also has one "Private Pleasures Booth," which girls work one hour shifts if they so choose. The girls at the Lusty make half of what goes into the booth and they get this money on top of their weekly hourly wage at the end of each week. Some of the girls just want to dance on stage and choose not to work the booth at all.
The stage at Fantasy does not seem to be the main attraction. There are five stage booths . . . some are one-ways (we can't see them) and some are two-ways (we can see them). Most of the customers choose to get shows in the private booths. I have worked shifts when there were no stage shows whatsoever.
Because the stage is so slow, we normally don't sit up there waiting for customers, but sit in our booths instead. The stage, booths, and dressing room are all part of one room. The first booth is located at the end of the stage so the girl working in that booth watches the stage for everyone. The guy working the front counter has control of the lights on stage and will turn the lights on and off, back and forth a couple of times to let us now someone is getting a stage show. There is also a mechanism in the window that is really loud when it opens so we listen for that, too.
We work on rotation on stage so the girl who arrives at work first gets the first stage. The girl who arrived next gets the next stage, etc., etc. We stay in that rotation until the end of the shift. There is only one girl on stage for each customer. If a customer wants more than one girl, then he tips the other girl to be up there, too.
It costs $1.00 to keep the window open for one minute. All of the money that goes into the machine goes to Fantasy. The dancers are independent contractors, not employees, so we just get the tips we make on stage. When we work the booths, we make half of what goes into the machine so we don't have to worry about tips. We also have to pay house rent, which is $20.00 a day.
The problem with the stage is that the customers don't have to tip and many of them don't. If the customers do not tip . . . then we do not remove any clothing. We usually go onto stage scantly clad, but not fully nude. This is the only way we can make any money on stage. Normally, guys tip $5.00 for the top and $10.00 for entire nudity. I have to admit . . . I do not enjoy the stage. I do not like asking for tips, but the way it's set-up at Fantasy, you have to. When guys don't have money to tip, then you end up shaking it for free and resenting them for it. This is also the only time when I think negatively about the customers.
There are some cheap ass men out there (I think they are in the minority so this doesn't skew my feelings towards them as a whole) that think we're whores or something and just want to show our ass for free. These are the guys that won't tip us . . . even after we tell them we don't make any of the money that goes into the machine and that we work for tips. They act like they have no money to tip, but they have a wad of money in their hands waiting to put in the machine. Management gets mad at us sometimes (of course they're men) and think we should be on stage nude at all times, whether the customer has tipped or not. I'd like to see them run around naked for free, while the company they're working for makes all the money. Hmmmm . . . exploitation, isn't it called?
There are guys who push us to the limit in other ways. This one particular customer comes in and gets change at the front desk . . . usually a couple of twenties for all ones. He then comes to the stage and puts some money to open the window. When the girl comes on stage and starts dancing for him . . . he motions for her to come closer. He asks that she kneel on the ground in front of the window and stick out her tongue at him. He's not interested in us taking off our clothes, but we tell him he needs to tip us for our time just the same.
He puts in one dollar at a time in the tip slot, while we sit there and stick out our tongue. Throughout the show, he asks that we change angles or look in a different direction, while sticking out our tongue. He also has his tongue out during the show, which he waves back in forth in a very unattractive fashion. Most of the girls have no patience for this customer and often walk off the stage. I think I have the most patience of the group, which does not always work in my favor.
There was one particular time when I had just finished a long show and Azar said, "There's a stage." I went up there and it was the tongue guy. I heard her say from the dressing room, "I'm sorry, but I've been up there the entire time you were in that show and I can't do it anymore." I wasn't mad at her . . . she was at her limit.
I sat there and played his tongue game for a while. He kept putting ones into the tip slot. I was only up there for about five minutes and made over $10.00 in tips so I couldn't complain. Sometimes, I do wonder if I'm lowering myself to do these stupid tricks for money. Sure, I'm making more than I would at a regular job, but am I compromising something in myself? I don't feel violated or bad. These types of shows are definitely in the minority so I try to keep things in perspective when I find myself in these situations. I know it's always my choice to do a particular show. Some of the shows are silly and weird, but I'm making a decent wage, and I've felt much more distress while working at certain corporate jobs for less money.
A Seattle peep-show girl shares stories of her customers and adventures stemming from her bare-it-all behavior.
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